Chicago Pace Executive Director Thomas (T.J.) Ross will retire at the end of November after 20 years of service to the agency. The announcement follows months of preparation with Pace Board of Directors and executives.
Ross became Pace's executive director in July 1998. His transit career includes 19 years in the private sector and 25 years in the public sector during which he has held the positions of planner, engineer, maintenance director, GM, and executive director.
"One of T.J.'s greatest attributes has been his commitment to this agency and to the people of our region," said Pace Chairman Rick Kwasneski. "We are losing a wealth of knowledge and a dedicated public servant with his departure. I am sad to see him go, but I know that Pace will flourish with the solid foundation he leaves behind."
During his tenure, Ross's key accomplishments have included:
- Agency's largest service expansion with the I-90 Market Expansion project in conjunction with the Illinois Tollway's Jane Addams Memorial Tollway SmartRoad project,
- Construction of the Harvey and Chicago Heights transportation centers, the implementation of Transit Signal Priority in South Cook County,
- Construction of a new Pace headquarters in Arlington Heights,
- Launch of Pace's website, the conversion of Pace's fixed-route fleet to all accessible low-floor buses,
- Conversion of the South Division fleet and facility to compressed natural gas, the installation of bike racks through Pace's Bike on Buses program,
- Launch of WebWatch (now BusTracker),
- Launch of dozens of new routes and hundreds of vanpools, the transfer of Chicago ADA Paratransit Service from the CTA to Pace, and the
- Introduction of Wi-Fi to most Pace buses.
Pace Deputy Executive Director Rocky Donahue has been named interim executive director and will assume his new role when Ross departs on November 30.